Keith Parkins
Mar 14, 2017 · 5 min read
proposals to turn Medium into a pay for access walled garden a retrograde step

Medium started off well, then went rapidly down hill, especially the rubbish promoted by Medium editors, of late picked up, quality writing.

I am apparently, one of their top writers for quality writing, and as such have received an invite to participate in their latest venture.


I’m Brian, an editor here at Medium. I’m reaching out to you as a popular writer who’s published high-quality stories on Medium.

You might have read that we’re launching a new subscription product for our readers shortly. It’s the next step in our vision to build a place on the internet where ideas are rewarded for their value, not simply their ability to attract a few seconds of attention.

As fans of your work, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to pitch your ideas or relevant posts early, and become part of a select group of contributing writers for our initial launch.

Our subscription will be an optional upgrade for people to become supporting members of Medium. These people will be able to access additional member-only functionality and new, exclusive content.

Writers across the world will continue to be able to publish on Medium for free, but we know there’s a great deal that never gets written or published by great writers, for lack of it making economic sense to do so. We want those stories — well-researched explainers, insightful perspectives, and useful knowledge with a long shelf life — to exist on Medium as well, and we think our paying readers will want to read them too.

That’s where you come in, because we thought your writing could be a great fit. So what types of posts have you been burning to write? If you knew you had a paying audience waiting for your ideas, what stories could you tell?

We’re looking for pitches within the following categories to start: US Politics, Technology/Science/Future, Self Development/Productivity, Business/Startups, and Culture. So tell us what you’d like to write about and your rate. If it sounds like a good fit, we’ll get back to you with a thumbs up or feedback as soon as we can. If you’re interested, we’d love to receive your initial pitch before Friday, March 17th.

This is just the first opportunity to be part of Medium’s subscription offering. We’ll be following up soon with more writing opportunities, as we continue to evolve our subscription and learn what our members enjoy reading most.



Brian lacks the courtesy to give an e-mail address to reply to.

It would appear to be a crude attempt to turn Medium into a walled garden, pay to enter, pay for content, and if I have understood correctly, writers also have to pay. If pay to enter, then a fenced off ghetto.

This is an extremely retrograde step.

If I compare with bandcamp, do not have to pay to upload music or audio content, can set download free, maximum 200 per month, can choose to pay for downloads.

This would be a better option for Medium, readers can choose to pay for an article, any article. Articles would remain free to read, no exclusive content, writers would not pay to write on Medium.

How to pay, on a voluntary basis?

I would recommend faircoin or fairpay card, a cooperative crytocurrency.

Medium must remain a collaborative, contributing commons, that is what makes Medium a success.

Enclosures of the commons must be resisted.

Medium are wrong to bring in this change without any consultation of those who contribute to Medium. They need to stop and think again.

One small change they could make.

Currently can only subscribe to follow a writer or sign up to a publication through twitter or facebook. It should be possible, as with wordpress, to subscribe via an e-mail address. This would increase the number of potential readers.

If Medium wish to be radical, turn into an open coop, owned by readers and writers.

The argument of Medium, would be the platform has to be paid for. My suggestion enables this, without changing the nature of Medium as a collaborative commons.

A collaborative commons in which writers freely contribute their work, and others are free to draw upon their work. The software to run the platform could be open source.

I quite happily contribute for free. To charge would be a retrograde step.

If they need funding, then crowdfund, launch an appeal, but do not insert advertising, do not make the mistake of twitter and float on Wall Street, and above all, do not charge to read articles.

Medium could launch a parallel venture Medium Books, open source books.

Book publishing is a risky businesses, most go to be pulped, some go as remainders, a few find their way onto book shelves in bookshops and a few actually get sold.

Crowdfund the book, only publish when a minimum number to break even has been reached. Print at local nodes. The e-book, in all formats, pdf, epub, kindle, available as free download but can choose to pay. The book distributed to bookshops in the usual way. The platform open source.

Pensar desde los comunes, the Spanish edition of Think Like a Commoner, was published in this manner, crowdfunded, then printed locally, with free e-book, translation from English to Spanish by Guerrilla Translation, a P2P translation collective and cooperative founded in Spain.

Charles Eisenstein, in keeping with his idea of a Gift Economy, gift to others with no expectation of return, you can purchase Sacred Economics from a bookshop (if you can find), download as an e-book (pay what you wish), or download for free. I downloaded for free, paid him back by recommending to others, and more recently, have purchased two copies, one for myself, one to be given to a friend as a gift.

Hopefully the editors of Medium are listening and do not take this retrograde step.

If Medium is to survive as a collaborative commons, they need to do some radical thinking, charging for access is not the answer.

Light on a Dark Mountain

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.— The Dark Mountain Manifesto

Keith Parkins

Written by

Writer, thinker, deep ecologist, social commentator, activist, enjoys music, literature and good food.

Light on a Dark Mountain

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.— The Dark Mountain Manifesto

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